#Girlcrush - Alexandra Cook

We got to interview our favorite Australian food blogger, Alexandra Cook of It’s Not Complicated Recipes and we’re so excited for you to meet her! Alex has been a member of the Girlcrush community from the very beginning and we have absolutely loved watching her brand evolve into what it is today.

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

Hey all! My name is Alex and I am 32. I am a born and bred South Australian. I have a passion for all things food, wine and travel.

My blog, It’s Not Complicated Recipes, was created as an outlet to express my passions. I launched it almost 8 months ago! 

I seek to inspire people to cook from scratch and make delicious meals – giving you lots of hacks and tips along the way to keep it simple! My motto is Crave, Cook and Consume!

alexandra cook

What inspired you to start your own blog?

I had a dinner party a little over a year ago and made a selection of tasty bites and nibbles – quite a few different options, but all super simple. My darling friends mentioned that they couldn’t believe I had made all the food, and I found myself repeating “but, it’s not complicated, I swear!” 

The name just stuck, and from that day onwards, I started making my game plan for the blog!

How would you describe your blogging style?

Relaxed, friendly and approachable. 

I will be your best friend in the kitchen!

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

Someone who loves to cook and eat as much as I do! I have designed the blog to suit people who are both new to the kitchen, or experienced cooks. I want it to be accessible to all.

How do you structure your days?

At the moment, this is definitely what I need to work on the most! I sometimes get so caught up in work, that I find myself awake at 3am! And as someone who really should cut down on her caffeine intake and thrives on balance, this isn’t ideal.

My structure, when I am adhering to it, is to start the day with a small meditation and a clear mind. Some days are spent just in the kitchen, and others are spent just on the computer. Some days are even spent in my local coffee shop! I think it is important to change your environment, and as I work from home, I sometimes have to get out of my apartment!

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

My profession now, but writing has always been a hobby of mine.

(I have had pen-pals since I was 12, and used to write for a local magazine when I was studying.)

What has been your most successful blog post?

Definitely my Almond Cookies, which are Gluten and Dairy Free!
https://itsnotcomplicatedrecipes.com/almond-cookies-gluten-and-dairy-free/ 

They’re super easy to make, and so delicious; you would never know they don’t contain gluten or dairy!

It’s also a recipe very close to my heart, as a dear friend passed it down to my Mum many years ago.

alexandra cook

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

I have a working document of recipe ideas and foods to try. I firstly select the recipe I want to work on, then develop and draft it. This depends on the time of year, holidays, events, great seasonal produce and various food trends.

I cook each recipe a minimum of three times, to ensure it works to perfection. I photograph each step. I then fine tune the method, notes etc. and create the recipe as a whole.

Once this is done, I begin writing the blog post. I like to share a little story about the recipe, and some facts people might not know about the ingredients. I try to be informative, but not boring! 

Where and how do you work best?

One of the things I love about my job is that I can literally work anywhere! As long as I have my laptop and my headphones (and a great playlist on hand) then I am good to go. Bonus points if I have a coffee, too!

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

It was a slow process to begin with! At first, I thought I could do it all myself. I quickly realised that my technological skills were not quite at the level required to build a website! I sought help, and that got me up and running!

I think it is important to realise your strengths and weaknesses – I definitely could not have done this alone!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

Definitely making great connections with other bloggers – I feel that it is very much an industry where you support each other. I saw a great quote the other day which is so true “nobody supports you like a social media friend you have never met”. Surround yourself with other boss babes!

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

I honestly thought I was someone who was good with technology – and then I started a blog! Turns out my skill set is rather basic and outdated! I feel like I learn something new every day!

How did you overcome these challenges?

Online forums and videos have been a huge help in learning various tricks. In all honesty though, the best thing I ever did was outsource some things, such as the building of my website. What took a professional 24 hours to do would take me a few weeks, and even then…. who knows what I would end up with!

Chocolate Coated Strawberries
Almond Cookies Gluten and Dairy Free.jpg
alexandra cook

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

I created a vision board shortly after starting my blog, and whenever I need a motivational boost, I refer back to it. I also keep a gratitude journal, and this is a great inspiration to me. 

We all lose motivation at times, but I think it is especially important to remember just how far you’ve come. 

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

My recipes are simple, but they don’t use convenience foods, such as cake mix.

I love things that are made from scratch – but this doesn’t necessarily mean it takes any longer!

I also want my food blog to cater to everyone, so I share recipes that are suitable for people who are gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian etc.

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

Full disclosure, I had no idea what was involved when I started the blog. I guess I wouldn’t really change that though – it has been a brilliant learning experience, and I have loved every minute.

If I had to change one thing, it would definitely be that I hadn’t waited so long to do this!  

What blogging tools/resources could you not work without?

Grammarly is incredible!

I also love Pinterest – it is the social media platform that draws the most traffic to my website and is a constant source of inspiration.

I am also grateful for amazing Facebook groups, such as Girlcrush Collective, where you know that you always have a group of women who have your back!!

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

There are so many incredible food bloggers from all over the world who inspire me every day!

My love of cooking began at a very early age, and I have my amazing Mum to thank for this! She is a huge inspiration, and I am so blessed to have her working with me on this blogging journey.

As for my biggest influences, they would be:

Nigella Lawson, Maggie Beer, Yotam Ottolenghi, Jamie Oliver and Lorraine Pascale

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

Be patient and don’t give up – it can take time to build an audience!

Also, quality over quantity – it is better to post one fantastic post a week than several average ones!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

It is hard work – I have never worked harder in my life!

I am having a blast though, and that’s what happens when you find yourself doing something that you truly LOVE.

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

I can’t ever see myself doing anything other than blogging.

Keeping that in mind, I will be working on growing my blog to be bigger and better each week.

I would also love to start working on a cook book! 

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @itsnotcomplicatedrecipes

Twitter: @itsnot_recipes

Facebook: @itsnotcomplicatedrecipes

Pinterest: @itsnotcomplicated

Website: www.itsnotcomplicatedrecipes.com

Email: alexandra@itsnotcomplicatedrecipes.com

#Girlcrush - Renata

renata urban girl gone beach mom

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

I am from São Paulo, Brazil and moved to San Diego, California to go to Fashion School. I know it doesn’t really make sense fashion + San Diego… But hang in there… Little I knew it was it! I was going to meet my husband, my kids father, and call paradise my home!

In my blog I say: “I was just a city girl on her heels who took a trip to the west coast and never went back home!”

I had to reinvent myself in all matters, personally and professionally, and found out that casual chic was my new style, mixing city and beach styles is fun!

What inspired you to start your own blog?

When I became a mom I saw myself totally devoted to my kid, which was I wanted to do at that time, however at some point I felt I was missing something… Fashion was always my passion and I never forgot the feeling styling used to bring to my heart. I wanted to be able to work with my passion while enjoying as well as struggling as a mother! Can’t really do one thing without the other after all!

How would you describe your blogging style?

I would say I am a fashionista mom, who loves to share everything fashion and my lifestyle as a mother. My mission is to inspire moms go thru motherhood in their own style!

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

My ideal reader is basically moms, moms to be, (but really women in general) who maybe caught up with life and kind of forgot about themselves and need some inspiring ideas, quick and efficient ideas on how to make themselves feel better, thru styling, beauty and real motherhood!

How do you structure your days?

My days are kind of hectic with 2 kids, one being on his terrible twos. Regarding work, I have a specific time I post on Instagram, I do my best to have 1 or 2 blog posts per week, go through my emails a long the day. If it’s possible have at least one photoshoot session per month, and if I am not super tired when kids are in bed I make sure I have it all good for the next day.

renata urban girl gone beach mom

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

I am a SHAM - Stay at Home Mom, and am working really hard, or as hard as I can to make blogging my full time job. It’s not easy, and it requires dedication, investimet, time, courage and energy. It began as a hobby but am sure it’s my main professional thing!

What has been your most successful blog post?

It’s a bit hard to pinpoint, but when I opened up about how I felt when I was pregnant with my second regarding my first kid, people absolutely loved! It had nothing to do with style, even though on Instagram I usually mention that and link products with liketoknow.it app.

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

It differs from post to post, when I am talking about me as a mom I have to have it from within my own experience, when I am talking about styling it’s all about how I love to pair things together, and when I review a product it began with my availiation when using the product. However, I usually write ideas down, and from those notes I start writing it. I have to be alone, otherwise I get too distracted. Kids call me MOM all the time!

So I have an idea, write it down, take some pictures and write it after 8pm. Most of the time I have the body and then i create the title.

Where and how do you work best?

I have only worked from home, and for blog posts when there is no kids around. Usually after 8pm. In silence, focused, maybe with a cup of latte!

renata urban girl gone beach mom

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

I actually started with my Instagram account, then after a few months I created a free layout blog, tried to post every month, but after I was very sure I wanted to make it happen, I did a 4 class program about social media. From there I had a professional make my blog with the colors and vibe I wanted, to make it mine, only mine!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

Sharing it on my other channels. When there is a new post, I mention on my ig post, ig stories, on Facebook and Pinterest. I feel like a combination of the 3 of them is perfect for me!

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

To keep me organized in order to be consistent. Organization is my 2019 word, so I am doing my best to do things the same way everyday. As much as possible, because with kids there is never a dull moment.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I try to be consistent not only with work but with my kids, there has to be time to do everything. Like, 6:30am wake up, 7am kid wakes up, 9am Instagram post (engage for about 20 minutes), 12:30 lunch, 5:30pm bath, 6pm dinner, 7pm first kid go to bed, 8-8:30pm second kid, 8-8:30pm blog post (if it’s time for a blog post)... I have to be sort of methodic, otherwise I can’t make it right.

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

Sometimes it’s hard, I just use my mindset and cheer me up, exercising helps, breathing a different air as well, might even take a short break to come back stronger...

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I strongly believe we are all different, and I really want to communicate my own way, and even though we might be talking about the same stuff, it won’t be the same. I stay true to myself and keep it going.

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

I wish I knew about SEO and how much traffic Pinterest can bring to any blog.

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

I absolutely love Danielle from @citygirlgonemom, Calli @thekelsays, Stefanie @raisingdarlingdragons, Tonya @two.n.tow, Anna @its.a.rad.life_, Bettina @being_betina, Tonia @toniasheart, Paige @thepaigedanielle, Jacque @thegoodsaturday, Signe @saynplaycolumbus, Arielle @ariellemae. Most of them moms, who has been incredibly inspiring to me!

renata urban girl gone beach mom

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

Stick to your true, use your voice to help others, be consistent, and authentic. Never ever buy numbers, it’s not worth it! Your community will come and it will be strong!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

All the algorithm thing everywhere changing all the time. Hard to keep up with it!

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

I would love to have it in most of my readers hearts, as an inspirational source to have self love, in fashion, motherhood, and beauty!

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @urbangirlgonebeachmom

Twitter: @gone_urban

Facebook: @urbangirlgonebeachmom

Facebook Group: Beaty Bar

Pinterest: @urbangirlgonebeachmom

Website: www.urbangirlgonebeachmom.com

Email: urbangirlgonebeachmom@gmail.com

#Girlcrush - Britt Powers

britt powers girlcrush

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

My name is Britt and I’m 24 years old. I graduated a few years ago with a degree in anthropological archaeology. Straight out of university with few employment opportunities and fresh off a breakup, I decided to write a book. Writing has always been my go-to form of therapy. With such positive feedback, I created an Instagram account that eventually turned into a website and blog. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since. After growing a beautiful literary community online, I published my second book, Dirty Laundry. My blog is as honest and disorganized as I am. I write about an array of hard to talk about topics with no filter and a sense of humor for those of us that need a good laugh when life is getting a little too chaotic.

What inspired you to start your own blog?

When I first started a blog, I was in high school and needed a creative outlet. It wasn’t until I wrote my first book in 2017 that I decided to start a public blog. I realized how many people could relate to how I was feeling and I desperately wanted to create a safe space for people like me to be able to come together and feel a little less alone.

How would you describe your blogging style?

I’d really just describe it as honest. I like to be humorous about subjects that people tend to find taboo or embarrassing. I try not to hold myself back because I like being authentic and transparent with my readers. That’s something that is really important to me. 

britt powers dirty laundry

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

My ideal reader is anyone that’s needing to hear some hard truths, have a good laugh or someone that just needs to know that my life is a mess too and we’re in this together. I think social media has created such high expectations of us so I want to convey to my reader that life isn’t as glamorous as everyone is making it out to be. I write a lot about being a 20-something that has absolutely nothing figured out and the pressures that come along with trying to create a life on your own. I really hope that anyone that reads what I post takes something from it, even if they just feel a little less alone, that’s really all that matters to me.

How do you structure your days?

I’m probably not as disciplined as I should be with my schedule but I will typically make a list of what I need to get done after I have my morning tea. Then I will pick and choose what is most important and/or what I am in the mood to accomplish. I have days where writing doesn’t happen because I don’t have it in me. I’m not a very structured person when it comes to blogging. Life tends to get in the way and I’m still figuring out how to find a good balance.

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

Blogging has been a hobby of mine since I was 16. It’s only been over the last 2-3 years that I’ve been pursuing it more seriously.

What has been your most successful blog post?

My most successful blog post is called “Peen There, Done That.” It’s about receiving unsolicited nude photos from guys. It’s highly relatable which is why I think it’s my most popular post. 

britt powers girlcrush dirty laundry

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

Step 1: Go through something upsetting or uplifting.
Step 2: Grab my laptop and write.

I really don’t have any magic method. I have to feel something in an extreme, sadness, happiness, never anything in between, in order for me to get in the mood to write. 

Where and how do you work best?

I need a space to myself with lots of light and very little noise. My attention span is my worst enemy when it comes to productivity so it’s important for me to be in a space that doesn’t provide me with too many distractions. A desk isn’t comfortable enough but my bed is too cozy so I tend to set up my work on the couch, away from the TV of course. 

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

First, I sat with the idea for a while. I have a tendency to get really excited about something and then get over it very quickly. I had to make sure it’s something I really wanted. After that, I decided to invest in a domain and website and went all in. Creating your own space online is such an exciting feeling, it really helped me stay motivated. Then I promoted it on my growing Instagram account and went from there.

britt powers dirty laundry girlcrush

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

Connecting with other bloggers and writers has been extremely helpful. Social media is of course so necessary for gaining a wider audience but none of that would be possible if it weren’t for fellow writers lifting each other up and collaborating.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Staying confident in my abilities as a writer and content creator has been difficult. It can be quite discouraging working so closely with social media because you’re constantly bombarded with people trying to accomplish the exact same thing as you. You start comparing yourself and that annoying self-doubt sinks in. Am I pretty enough? Am I funny enough? Can people relate to me? Why would anyone care what I have to say? It’s been a challenge for sure but a challenge I intend to win.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I allow myself to take a break. If I push myself to do things that I’m not feeling particularly passionate about in that moment, then it leads to poor quality content. So I allow myself to take a step back for however long I need to before pushing ahead. 

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

I try to remember that pushing myself to write when I’m not in the mood isn’t always the best option. There’s plenty to get done that doesn’t require that sort of focus so for days when I’m just not mentally in it, I do what I can and don’t get down on myself when I can’t accomplish what I wanted to. There’s always tomorrow. 

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How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I think what makes me unique is my willingness to talk about touchy topics. I don’t fit into a category of beauty, fashion, home, etc. I really just share my unfiltered thoughts. I don’t have products to talk about or clothes to critique, I talk about people. I talk about love and dating and women’s health and growing up. I think that’s what distinguishes me from others. 

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

I wish I knew how competitive it is. I started it as my own form of therapy with no intention of trying to grow it into anything more than my own outlet. But I quickly connected with so many people that were genuinely interested in what I had to say. It gets tiring when you feel like your hobby and passion has become work. It’s a hard transition to make. I didn’t realize that you have to be so consistent with putting out content. I wish I had known from the beginning so I could’ve been better prepared.

What blogging tools and resources could you not work without?

I couldn’t do any of this without Pinterest and Instagram. Those are the two best platforms that I have always relied on, not only for advice but also to help promote my website, book and blog.

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Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

Love is what started this for me. Feeling it, losing it, finding it. Platonic or romantic. Love is the driving force behind what I’m doing. I see these amazing females, mostly online, creating their own lives and that inspires me to put myself out there and go for what I want. I really look up to my past self. A year ago I was very different than I am today and a year from now I hope to make even more of a positive impact. Competing with myself keeps me grounded and motivated.

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

Keep writing. Focus on what you can provide others with instead of worrying about being recognized. Quality content is most important and don’t get discouraged when you haven’t quite found your niche yet, it takes time to carve out your own little corner on the internet.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I was never the type of person that could follow through with a plan, but since starting my blog and writing two books, I’ve really taught myself how to accomplish what I want without letting myself get discouraged to the point of the giving up. That’s been unbelievably helpful to my work ethic as a whole and my self-esteem.

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

I want to become much more consistent with posting and hopefully get more organized with what I write, how I write and who I write it for. I’m really focused on creating a whole new life for myself in a new city so I would love to be able to incorporate my blog into this next chapter of my life!

britt powers dirty laundry

Where can we find you?

        Instagram: @musings.of.a.she.wolf and @brinniepowers

        Twitter: @brinnie_powers

        Pinterest: @shewolfmusings

        Website: www.britpowers.com

        Email: brittany_powers@hotmail.ca

Britt’s second book, Dirty Laundry, is out now! Check it out!

#Girlcrush - Ell Duclos

ell duclos

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

My name is Lauren (Ell) and I am the creator of EllDuclos.Blog & Boss Girl Bloggers. I started my journey a little over a year an a half ago (April 2017). I have always had this dream of creating a community for like minded women who wanted to pursue a lifestyle that made them completely happy! I am all about living the “freest” lifestyle! Not only finding financial freedom, but freedom to spend your time how you wish! 

What inspired you to start your own blog?

I was actually going through a dark time in my life, you can read about it here. I was extremely depressed, waiting tables for a living and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get ahead. Financially strapped was an understatement. When you know you are so unhappy that you start contemplating life… that’s when I knew I needed to make a change immediately. I always loved writing when I was in school. SO, I decided to start my blog! It began as a way to express my thoughts and pull myself out of the depression I was in. Little did I know that it would change my life in the best way possible. 

How would you describe your blogging style?

I would say that my style is “REAL”, I am not a “perfect” writer by any means. I write from my heart and I try to be as real as possible. I am not an uptight, grammar police, business professional! I don’t sugar coat anything. I think having your own voice and being REAL with your audience is HUGE. Being relatable is HUGE. You need to keep your audience engaged with your content, otherwise they will get bored of your content quick. Having your own style, personality, and voice is so important as a blogger. 

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

I would say my ideal reader varies. I write a lot about how to pursue your passion and turn it into a full time career. (Blogging)… I also help other like minded females chase their happiest life. I believe that when your career and passion collide, that’s true happiness. If you think about it, you work a majority of your life… You might as well enjoy what you are doing!! I also write a lot about beauty and lifestyle too! I don’t like to stick to one topic because there are so many things I enjoy writing about! 

ell duclos

How do you structure your days?

You could probably say I am the most unorganized person. I try to be as organized as possible but sometimes I find “winging it” works a lot better for me! I like to wake up, get coffee, and go with the flow. 

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

It’s my profession and hobby! I love blogging but this year I was able to turn it into my full time job! For that I am thankful. 

What has been your most successful blog post?

I would say my most successful blog post is my How I Turned My Blog into a Full Time Career post. 

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

My writing process is pretty basic. When I have ideas I jot them down in my phone notes. Then, I create a rough draft on my phone and transfer it over to my wordpress editor. After, I reread and make finishing touches! I then have to add all necessary links, photos etc. Hit publish and BOOM, there’s my new post! 

Where and how do you work best?

I definitely work best in a quiet atmosphere. Sometimes I will put on some jazz music to get inspired. (don’t know why it inspires me! HAHA) I find that if I feel inspired, I need to act on it immediately. 

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

I honestly went out on a whim. I started on wordpress .com and quickly realized I wanted to move to self hosting. I did that, chose a theme that I loved and got to writing. The thing about blogging is, there is a lot to learn!!! If you try to learn it all right away you will drive yourself insane. Just continue to write what you love and learn along the way. You can always go back and make adjustments when needed. 

ell duclos boss girl bloggers

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

I definitely think my Facebook group Boss Girl Bloggers was where it all started. Having my group helped me to connect with my audience on a more personal level. Personal connections go a long way when it comes to growing an audience. 

Then I started to get into Pinterest and that helped TREMENDOUSLY. The combination of the two has taken my blog to a whole new level that I am forever grateful for. 

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

I think my biggest challenge so far has been time management. I manage a lot on my own. For example: My 2 Instagram accounts, My Facebook Community, My 2 twitter accounts, My own Pinterest, 5-7 Pinterest clients a month, My own blog and so much more! 

I tend to take on more than I should. I just can’t help myself! I need to practice better time management for sure. I also tend to work ALL the time. I try to take time away but since I love my job so much I can’t help it. 

How did you overcome these challenges?

It’s still a work in progress but I find that making a list at the beginning of the day from most important tasks to least important tasks helps! Then I will set a timer and start working on my first task… When the timer is up I will stop working on the task. If I didn’t finish the task, I put it at the bottom. Then I continue down the list repeating the same process. I find this helps to make sure I am not focusing on social media or a specific task for too long. 

I also try to set a time where I put my computer away and hide my phone so I don’t get caught up in my job. 

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

It can be tough but I find that when I watch certain shows, like Gossip Girl (as weird as that sounds) and play some jazz music, I feel more motivated and inspired… Something about the city really inspires me! I also like to scroll through Pinterest. It’s very motivating and inspiring on there. BUT, there are times where I just need to take a break whether it’s a day or weekend.

ell duclos boss girl bloggers

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

Honestly, I don’t even know who my competitors would be. I like to think I have my own voice and style. It’s really hard because there are tons of people out there who want to take the easy way out. 

Example: My content has been copied and pasted onto other’s sites multiple times. It’s hard when you put in hard work just for people to steal and copy! 

For me, I try not to read other posts that are related to my niche. (I know it sounds unsupportive and strange) BUT, if you read a post you are more likely to feel inspired by that post and you then write your own post that ends up being EXTREMELY similar out of inspiration…This is always a fear of mine so instead of worrying if I may accidentally copying someones content, i’d rather just not read other similar topics all together. 

I always write from the heart. I also tend to story tell and relate my blog posts to my own life. A lot of people love that because it’s more relatable! PLUS - no one can copy real life situations. 

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

I wish I knew from the start how beneficial Pinterest is because that has made a SERIOUS difference for me. I also would have self hosted right from the start. AND all the tax/legal jazz would have helped! Taxes really get ya when you have your own business.

What blogging tools/resources could you not work without?

Again, Pinterest & Tailwind! GAME CHANGERS. I also love being self hosted. 

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My biggest influence has always been my mom. She was a single mom who raised us on her own. My mom always put a roof over our head and food on the table even if that meant working 3 jobs. She really is my rock and best friend. I wouldn’t be the strong independent woman I am today without her! She helped push me to go after my dream of writing and blogging. 

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

My advice would be to have patience. There’s so much info out there it can be overwhelming. You have to remember, what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. If you aren’t patient you will want to give up right away. Blogging success doesn’t happen overnight. 

There are also MANY different ways to achieve blogging success. Always do what works for YOU. On that same note, consistency is key. You need to be consistent with your blog and your strategies if you are wanting to turn it into a career. Just like anything in life, being consistent helps! Can’t stress that enough. Don’t give up if you aren’t seeing results right away. KEEP TRYING.

ell duclos boss girl bloggers

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I learned that I really can achieve anything I put my mind to. It’s all about how determined I am. I learned that I am more determined than I thought I was. I also learned that blogging full time is A LOT of work! Even if people don’t think it is, but I love every second of it!

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

I always hope to grow daily. I would love to see my income and blog continue to grow. I also hope to buy my own home soon! Those are my hopes but we shall see! (:

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @ellduclos , @bossgirlbloggers

Twitter: @bgbloggers

Facebook: @ellduclos

Facebook Group: BossGirlBloggers

Pinterest: @EllDuclos

Website: www.ellduclos.blog

Email: bossgirlbloggers@gmail.com

#Girlcrush - Ruth in Revolt

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

ruth in revolt

I’m Ruth, I’m 27 and I live in Aberdeen in the U.K., with my boyfriend, and my cat, Juno. I very rarely act my age - I’m a big kid, or an old lady, and nothing in between. As for my blog, it’s my very own happy space of the internet and one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. It began in April 2018, and has been going from strength to strength ever since.

What inspired you to start your own blog?

I was beginning a journey of treatment for depression and anxiety, but had already started to feel some benefits of it. I no longer felt hopeless or worthless, so I wanted somewhere to channel my positive energy. I wanted to share with others that, hard as it is to reach out and get help for mental illness, it’s worth it.

How would you describe your blogging style?

Uplifting - everything I do and write is with the intention of making myself and others feel a bit happier.

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

I guess my ideal would be someone who is struggling - either with their blog, as I share blogging tips, or with their mental health because the focus is to make people realise they don’t have to settle for that life. It can get better!

How do you structure your days?

Generally, I create content first thing in the morning (unless my brain inconveniently decides to give me an idea at 11pm), then I’ll spend the early afternoon on social media, before diving in to learning new things in the afternoon. My evenings are mostly set aside for time with my boyfriend.

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

I work on it full time, but sadly don’t have the income to match (yet) so I suppose it’s somewhere in between.

What has been your most successful blog post?

My most successful blog post so far has been 8 Ways To Gain Twitter Followers As A Blogger (https://www.ruthinrevolt.com/twitter-followers)

ruth in revolt

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

An idea pops into my head, I’ll write as much as I can while the idea is there, and then I’ll edit it later. I sometimes leave it a few days before going back to it which really helps me approach it with a new perspective. That’s about it. I have to write when the idea arrives, or I’ve got no chance!

Where and how do you work best?

I work best at my desk with no distractions - which is kind of hard to do these days with social media and YouTube at my fingertips! My desk was originally in my bedroom, but I found it felt like I never really left that room, so it’s now in my living room next to the window and it’s perfect. If my creativity is lacking, I’ll just sit and stare out the window for 10 minutes. It helps me clear my mind and relax, ready to get back into it.

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

Research was the big one. Lots and lots of research. The week prior to my blog launching, I must have read hundreds of posts and articles with blogging and social media tips.

The other one was getting my blog to look the way I wanted it to - trawling through lots of free themes. The look of a blog is so important to me, both as a reader and a blogger myself. I tried a free theme for a while, but eventually, I gave in and bought a theme which did everything I wanted it to!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

Twitter, without a doubt. The more I think about this, the more sense it makes. Instagram and Pinterest are very visual platforms, and that’s not my strong point. I can do it and even enjoy it sometimes, but words are what I do best so it’s logical that Twitter would come through for me. I also find it easier to interact with people and make connections on Twitter so I suppose the fact it’s my comfort zone helps along the way, too.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Learning to put myself out there and dealing with a lot of interaction. I’m a very reserved person, so laying my thoughts and feelings out there for strangers to read is quite intimidating at times. Being an introvert also makes a lot of socialising exhausting - even if it’s only done online.

ruth in revolt

How did you overcome these challenges?

When it comes to putting myself out there, I simply kept my mission at the front of my mind, and forced myself to do it for the people it could help. I can’t very well make people’s lives brighter by sitting here and waiting for them to find me! I knew I’d have to make the first moves in a lot of cases, and more or less had to accept that. For me, starting small helped. Reaching out to only a couple of people a day and building it up from there.

As for dealing with all the interaction, I’ve learnt to listen to my instincts. For a while, I would push myself to go online every single day because I didn’t want to ignore people, or make them think I’d just disappeared. Then, it reached a point where I wasn’t getting anything else done. I was spending the entire day chatting to others and it was exhausting for me because it’s such a contradiction to my personality. It was killing my creativity which was the whole reason I started to begin with! So, now, I’m not afraid to take time away from it. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll take a step back from social media, and focus on creating content.

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

The first thing I do when things get difficult is mope. I realise that doesn’t sound very productive, but I’ve come to recognise it’s pointless to try and work through it. I can’t get anything done with that “what’s the point?” feeling niggling inside of me. So, I’ll sit in bed, watch Netflix and drink tea. I’ll allow myself to feel sorry for myself for an afternoon, or a day at the most.

But, I won’t allow it to last beyond that. Once that phase has passed, I’ll identify why I’ve been feeling demotivated. Too much time on social media and not taking enough breaks are common reasons. From there, I’ll plan the week ahead with these in mind. So, I’ll reduce my time on social media right down, or add additional breaks in.

Aside from that, I just always make a point of reminding myself of why I started. Ultimately, I wanted to help people. I wanted to put smiles on faces. Lots of people have reached out to tell me I’ve been able to do that for them, and that drives me forward.

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

Personally, I have no idea, so I’m going to base this on what other people have told me. Apparently, I am very down to earth, and people find it surprising that I still go out of my way to help brand new bloggers. I’ll admit, I am much busier than I was at the beginning, but helping those just getting started is something I’ll always be conscious of. I don’t ever want anyone to look at me and feel like I think I’m too good to help anyone.

When I worked in retail, I always kept in mind that the customers were paying my wages. Truth is, blogging isn’t any different. The people who read my blog, follow me on social media and share my work are making things happen for me. I realise I work very hard, but without an audience who supports me the way mine does? I wouldn’t be anywhere.

ruth in revolt

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

I wish I’d known how many amazing people are in the blogging community. I had this idea of bloggers being into beauty or travel or parenting, and I was terrified I wouldn’t find my place. However, there are so many wonderful people who are writing about all sorts and there really is a place for everyone.

What blogging tools/resources could you not work without?

Canva for creating my pins and Yoast plugin for keeping me on track with my SEO!

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

Since I started, I’ve had two main inspirations: Amie (www.thecurvaceousvegan.com) and Ell (www.ellduclos.blog).

Amie was among the first people I followed on Twitter. She seemed so lovely, and always managed to reply to everyone. I love her blog because it feels like sitting down for a cup of tea and a chat with her. I’m pretty confident we’d get along great in person!

Ell is probably the blogger I look up to the most. The things she has accomplished in a short space of time are mind-blowing - she has a fantastic Pinterest course, a Facebook group with thousands of members and an incredible blog. She has a heart of gold and has helped me so much since I started. Even though we’re more like friends now, a part of me will always be a fangirl first and think it’s the coolest thing ever when she tweets me!

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

My very least favourite piece of advice in life is “be yourself” but it’s so appropriate when it comes to blogging. It’s easy to be tempted by the idea of copying everyone else, especially when what they’re doing works, but it won’t feel right for you. You won’t attract people who you have a genuine connection with, and I imagine it will just feel lonely. So, stay true to you and your values, and the right people will come into your life.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I have two. The first is that I’m not as bad as I think I am. I made a promise to myself when I started blogging that I’d be 100% me (for the reasons I mentioned in the last answer) but I was terrified I’d be rejected. The response I had, though, was the complete opposite. For reasons which I still don’t understand, people really liked me, and it made me wonder if I’d been being unnecessarily harsh to myself for a very long time. Spoiler: I have, and I think a lot of others do the same thing.

The second is that I am a machine when I care about something. I’ve always been one to try my best with anything I do but, before blogging, I’d never really discovered anything I LOVED and wanted to pursue. I’ve never chosen a career, or put much emphasis on it, but blogging often feels like it’s what I’m supposed to do. It seemed to start a fire inside of me and I learnt about a different, driven side of myself that hadn’t been uncovered before.

ruth in revolt

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

First and foremost, I want it to still be a place where people go for a little bit of sunshine in their lives. I’d sooner walk away from it than see it evolve into anything else. There’s too much misery in the world and on the internet, so I want to retain that “ray of light” aspect, as much as possible. I’d like to still be providing blogging help for those who need it. And, of course, ideally, I’d like to be earning a full time income from my blog to reflect the time and effort I put into it. We’ll see what happens!

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @ruthinrevolt

Twitter: @ruthinrevolt

Facebook: @ruthinrevolt

Pinterest: @ruthinrevolt

Website: www.ruthinrevolt.com

Email: hello@ruthinrevolt.com

#Girlcrush - Jenn Barajas

#Girlcrush - Jenn Barajas

Jenn Barajas is an accountant turned fashion designer. She is the mama of two boys and she found a way to focus on her children and build a career at the same time! Her clothing brand, Desert Gloss, is a fun collection of t-shirts for adults and kids who love tacos, margaritas, puns, and parenting jokes! But she also creates custom designs, and for Girlcrush readers, Desert Gloss is offering 25% off with the code GIRLCRUSH! 

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#Girlcrush - Jessica Alexis

MEET JESS!

Jessica started her blog, The Trendy Voyager back in 2016 as a way to express creativity and showcase her travels.

A year and a half later, she’s become a total #girlboss! Jess had become a part of many blogger communities, but noticed that there were no communities to connect with other Latina bloggers. So she created one! 

jessica alexis

Tell us about yourself and your business!

I am a NYC-based Latina Lifestyle Blogger. I started blogging two years ago and my content was focused around traveling and fashion. Throughout my blogging journey, I realized that there weren't many platform that I could relate to that spoke to me as a Latina. I wanted to connect with other Latinas and also find a place to talk about my challenges being a Latina Blogger.

While there are a few groups out there for Latinas, I felt it was too corporate and didn't feel comfortable in those groups. Therefore I decided to start my own group geared towards Latina Bloggers in 2017. The Latina Blogger Network is a group that is focused on creating more opportunities for Latinas in blogging and business through community, connection and empowerment. The group quickly started to grow once I decided to take the leap and post regularly in the Facebook group. 

What inspired you to start your own business?

What inspires me is knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of others. Seeing the girls support each other and relate to each other's content in the group. I feel inspired by their stories and love to see them support each other in the group. 

Is this your full time job?

No this is not my full-time job, but being able to do something I love is the goal.

How do you structure your days?

I work Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm and so I schedule my days using my Happiness Planner. Sundays are my days to knock out as many to-do's as I can for the week. This way, when I get home after work, I can focus more on writing a blog post, editing a video etc. Saturdays and Sundays are my days to get content and schedule posts. Whereas Mon-Fri I am having conference calls with other bloggers in the group at night. 

Where and how do you work best?

I work best from my beauty room. It's a space I renovated in my parents house with minimalist vibes with a touch of glamour. It's filled with positive quote decals and things that make me feel like Beyonce. I work best when my mind is at peace. Nothing begins until I have my Cafecito bumping to Ozuna or listening to a podcast like The Model Health Show. 

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

I am not currently running giveaways or contests at the moment, but I certainly will very soon.

Where is your business based?

My business is based in New York - with the goal of branching out to different cities.

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

One day, I decided to start a group. With no experience other than being in different groups, I created an account on Facebook and ran with it. It took me awhile to learn the ropes and figure out how I was going to manage it. Then I create an Instagram page called Boss Chicas Global. And now, I am working on building the website, hosting meetups and events. 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

Honestly, asking questions has been the best tool for my business. I ask my members all the time for their opinions, and what they would want in a group for Latinas. This is for them and I want it to speak to them. Another thing is posting consistently and engaging with my audience. It's all about providing value but also having that value given to you. You don't always want to be the one delivering information - you have to listen to your audience as well. 

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

When I first started this group, I had no idea how I was going to get the engagement I wanted. I wasn't posting as much and I didn't really have a strategy. I was hoping girls would just start posting and engaging with each other.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I overcame this by picking one day to schedule posts ahead and organize the content for the week ahead of time. I posted polls asking them what they wanted in a group, surveys etc. I started to host livestream sessions once a week with a different guest and that really increased interest in the group.

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

You know, staying motivated is something I struggled with. Especially at the beginning when I didn't know what I was doing and I had my own personal problems going on at work at the same time. What kept me going is the comments I received from my girls in the FB group. Seeing them start to engage more, and asking them if this was valuable to them - then seeing they really loved the group kept me from closing down the platform all together. Knowing that I am impacting others' lives in a positive way is what has kept me going. I tell myself all the time - you started this and you're going to finish it. You've already come too far to give up now. 

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I distinguish myself from my competitors by being truthfully and organically me as I can be. I am honest with my audience in the rawest way and they appreciate that. There's too many people out there trying to do the same thing - I am just going to be me and that's ok. It's ok to be different. In fact, people appreciate you more when you can be authentic and be honest.

What is the best advice you have received recently?

I recently read "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" and in the book the author says, if you try something and it doesn't work out - you fail. If you don't try something, you'll never know what could have been so you'll also fail. So why not try it anyway ? There's so much potential to gain. 

jessica alexis

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

When I started, I wish I had someone to push me to keep going or someone to steer me in the right direction. Sometimes you need support to get you going and keep you from giving up. 

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My biggest influence has been @DianaChantel. She's a Dominican blogger I've been following for the last 5 years. I watched her start by making YouTube videos from her bathroom in the Bronx with no money, to then being so successful moving over to Los Angeles and collaborating with the biggest brands in the beauty industry. She's been a huge inspiration to my work and I hope to meet/work with her someday. 

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

My advice is, keep doing you boo. You got this. Don't be afraid to keep going. It's ok to have your day job and start your side hustle. Being an entrepreneur isn't always quitting your day job and trying to make ends meet. If you're not happy with the way your life is going, change it. Do something on the side that you love and when you're ready make that your full time job. There are so many tools out there for you to learn that don't cost any money - go get it. 

What business tools/resources could you not work without?

I cannot work without Hootsuite and the Preview App. The fact that I can schedule my posts and plan out my feed is such a big help for me. I also like Evernote for drafting posts and Google Analytics.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I've learned that people actually want to know about my life. They are super interested in what I am doing, how I'm taking care of myself and actually want to see more of me rather than me not showing my face with my voice in the background.

Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?

I  see my business as my full-time job in 5 years. Thats the goal - to be able to do what I truly love as my job.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: thetrendyvoyager & bosschicasglobal

Twitter: trendyvoyager1 

Facebook: thetrendyvoyager

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1925499701070514/

Pinterest: trendyvoyagerxo

Websites: www.thetrendyvoyager.com & www.bosschicasglobal.com (coming soon)

Email: contact@thetrendyvoyager.com & hola@bosschicasglobal.com (coming soon) 

#Girlcrush - Ashley Diana

Ashley diana

I am very excited about this #girlcrush interview because it is with my good friend Ashley Diana! Ashley has played such an important role in my personal life and business. I have learned so much from her, not only from her influencer course and amazing blog posts but also from long talks at happy hour and from running events about entrepreneurship and social media with her!

After reading this interview, I know you'll love her as much as I do! 

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

I am a wellness, beauty blogger, and business mentor located in Las Vegas. My blog shares stories, recipes, & lifestyle hacks on how to live a happier and more successful life. I help other women who want to build a brand around their passion and teach how to skip the stumbling blocks. Empowering women is my mantra for sure. :)

What inspired you to start your own blog?

My blog has REALLY evolved since I first started. I actually started as a food blog as I shared my plant based heath journey. I wanted to share with others how they could heal their body and be fit for life with a healthy diet, and to be honest, I wanted a blog so that I could have a business from anywhere in the world. Location freedom & financial freedom were super important to me, and I knew I could make it happen through my blog.

How would you describe your blogging style?

I’m pretty damn real. I’ve shared everything from my divorce, to my surprise pregnancy, and my breakup with my child’s father shortly after her birth (with lot’s of beauty, recipes, and wellness in between). I think it’s crucial to share realness online because so many people get caught up in the “perfect lives” of social media stars, and it’s just not how it actually is! The truth is that everyone has a story, and everyone has fucked up parts of their story. Through my blog, I want women to know that they are supported, they are worthy, they are not alone, and they don’t need to think small!

ashley-diana-las-vegas-instagram-influencer-speaker-fucking-beautiful.jpg

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

Hip mom with a entrepreneurial mindset who loves taking care of her body, mind, and family. 

How do you structure your days?

Theming. We would get nothing accomplished if our days weren’t themed. Here is a breakdown of how we schedule our days. Basically I work 4 & 1/2 full days and the rest are family / self-care days. MON: Coaching Calls TUES: blog photos WED: relationship THURS: blog content FRI: Coaching Calls Sat: planning / self care SUN: family day

Ashley diana

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

Both! :) 

What has been your most successful blog post?

The Break Up Post. It’s very powerful and thought provoking, and it helped lots of women!

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

I actually have a really hard time getting started writing (and working in general lol!). I have to really get into my “zen” - candles, essential oils diffusing, buddha bar music playing. Alex makes fun of me bc he says I can’t work unless the environment is perfect, but whatever, I do what I want. 

Where and how do you work best?

I work best at home in my bed lol! I actually do have a huge office, but when I’m writing for a long period of time, I like to get snuggly in my bed!

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

Oh Lordy, it took me YEARS to figure out what the heck to do. I messed up so much in the beginning. I would have no idea where to start bc it would be a novel! That’s actually why I created my Infinite Influence program - I wanted to give people a clear path to blog success and be sure they didn’t make the time consuming and expensive mistakes I did. 

In a nutshell, to get started I had a girlfriend help me create my first free Wordpress site, and she taught me how to put affiliate links in my blog posts. I also took a photography class so I could learn how to use my Canon camera. I had a professional photo shoot before launching my blog so that I had nice photos of myself on the site too. 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

Cross promotion and diversifying my following. For example, on our podcast we ask people to leave a comment on a certain Instagram post, or in our newsletter, we announce a giveaway but it leads to growth on another platform. It’s just guides people from one place to another, and I think that’s important.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

My biggest challenge was that I completely changed directions and rebranded from a vegan food blog to a lifestyle blog and it wasn’t easy to say the least. I don’t recommend it haha. 

Ashley diana

How did you overcome these challenges?

Day to day it’s about the progress not perfection. I don’t get caught up in comparing myself to other influencers and bloggers. To be honest, I really don’t give AF, and comparing yourself only holds you back. I just do my thang and move forward. Best advice I could give anyone is to have laser focus and just do it.

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

I REEEEALLY like champagne. 

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

Tha’ts a good question because I don’t think I fit in with a lot of other influencers. I think that’s good and bad! I’m not one of those “my life is perfect” influencers, I’m not a health-only blogger, and I’m not a foodie blogger anymore. It’s interesting because I share natural beauty and wellness advice, yet I’m pretty glam, so people think I should be hippie style, but that’s just not me. I guess I would say what sets me apart is that I’m a pink haired, business boss with a #Lilygoat who comes from a place of massively supporting other women to live their passion.

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

Oh girlfriend, where do I even begin?! I think the thing I wish I had known the most, was to have found a successful mentor. Guidance is key - and not just from anyone. You need coaching and mentorship from someone who knows how to build brands and has been successful in modern online world. 

What blogging tools/resources could you not work without?

I can’t live without Darkroom editing app. That’s it.

Ashley diana

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My biggest influence is my daughter. I push myself because I want to give her an incredible life, and when she’s older I want to be able to have the flexibility to spend as much time with her as possible. Time is our most valuable asset, and I work hard now in order to to buy back my time. 

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

Don’t play a guessing game, and don’t rely on Instagram alone to be everything for you. Take Infinite Influence (shameless plug lol), have a badass mentor (Katie and/or myself hehe), and start building your online presence as a business. Find ways to authentically monetize immediately, and ALWAYS provide MASSIVE value. People will never care about you or what you do if you aren’t providing them value. If someone takes the time to visit your Instagram or blog, make it worth their time!!!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. 

Think about that, and let that sink in. :) Some of you will “get it.” That’s the most valuable business advice I’ve ever been given. 

For tactical advice: DIVERSIFY your following. Build your email list form DAY ONE.

Ashley diana

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

Who cares, I’ll be on a 1000 ft yacht in the Mediterranean with no Wifi. LOL LOL

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @missashleydiana

Facebook: @missasheydiana

Facebook Group: Infinite Infuence

Pinterest: @missashleydiana

Websitewww.ashleydiana.com

Emailashley@ashleydiana.com